Bus-pedestrian fatalities in the Greater Cleveland metropolitan area have dropped to zero since 2009, when the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) installed a voice-alert system that can be heard outside buses, and signals when the vehicles are making a turn. The agency says safety should increase even further with a new collision-avoidance system that it will test on some of its buses. The RTA, in partnership with the Battelle Memorial Institute, will develop and test collision avoidance systems for its 500 bus fleet that serves Cuyahoga County, due to a US$2.7m grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The collision avoidance technology will be similar to that currently available in some high-end automobiles, which can detect, warn and automatically stop the vehicle when it is getting too close to another object, pedestrian, cyclist or another vehicle. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, and is currently involved in several safety and mobility projects, as part of the USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Program.
“We are at the national forefront in creating and implementing bus and rail safety technology. We are pleased we have been selected to continue to advance innovative safety features across our system,” said the RTA’s CEO and general manager, Joe Calabrese. “Our award-winning ‘safe turn alert technology’ has had such tremendous success that it has been replicated by other transit systems across the country. We’ve had zero bus-pedestrian fatalities since its implementation in 2009. We expect that this collision avoidance technology will be met with similar success. Initially, we will test the system in a certain number of buses throughout our service area. Once we demonstrate improved safety, we will install it throughout our entire fleet and share the technology with other transit agencies in the USA. We’d thank Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge for their efforts in making this grant available from the FTA.”